London, June 7 : Henry T. Nicholas III, the flamboyant co-founder and former chief executive of semiconductor chipmaker Broadcom, built a "sex cave" under his house, took cocaine, spiked customers' drinks with ecstasy and also directed a stock-options backdating conspiracy, federal criminal indictments released on June 5 charged.
Gregory Craig, the lawyer defending Nicholas, insists that his client was innocent and will prevail.
"It's a kitchen-sink attack. They're trying to throw everything at him from eight years ago," Times Online quoted Craig, as saying. Prosecutors claim that Nicholas's company, Broadcom, "back-dated" stock options - thus allowing executives to buy shares for an artificially low price, then sell them for a profit - but did not disclose the arrangement publicly.
This meant that shareholders were unknowingly picking up the bill and that the company's published accounts were essentially false.
Broadcom's former chief financial officer, William J. Ruehle, also faces charges related to the stock options scheme and he, too, protests his innocence through his lawyer. In addition, it is claimed that Nicholas's consumption of marijuana was so prodigious that during a 2001 flight on a private jet between Orange County and Las Vegas the pilot had to put on an oxygen mask; and that on two separate occasions he drugged unsuspecting colleagues with Ecstasy.